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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

‘Truth’ campaign is anything but truthful

Published: October 12, 2007
Section: Opinions

When you were in middle school, you probably had some lame, pathetic program that tried to convince you not to smoke tobacco. Though these initiatives come in various different names, some school official or perhaps a police officer probably told you about the horrific and dire consequences of smoking cigarettes. They probably portrayed the tobacco companies in a negative light, illustrated their use of half-truths and propaganda, and demonstrated the evilness of these companies. As I look back on these programs, I realize that they were really horrible themselves. The anti-tobacco supporters are the ones using lies as they hyperbolize the effects of smoking. These advocates cause more harm as they inundate young minds with misleading information and disrupt the capitalist system. Though the political correct position seems to support these valiant efforts to curtail underage smoking, Id like to relate that theyre not all good. Their initiatives are unhealthy, their tactics are propagandistic, and the tobacco industry isnt all that bad to begin with.

The strategies employed by the anti-smoking advocates are both unethical and wrong. These campaigns do not provide the straight up facts, but rather cloud the debate in half-truths. The Truth campaign is by far the worst perpetrator of this offense. They run commercials that say that tobacco, for instance, is dangerous because it contains a certain amount of arsenic. But seriously, its not like you are ingesting the stuff, just smoking it harmlessly away. I also love how they pull on your heartstrings when they have someone whose father died of smoking go outside the tobacco lobby and ask why do you make products that kill people? Thats funny, why doesnt that same person go outside a Ford factory and ask them why they create products that lead to so many fatalities, when automobile accidents is one of the leading causes of death in America. Rather than give the straight up facts abut the ridiculous cost of smoking, these liars would rather provide half-truths that skew the facts, use propaganda, and otherwise show blatantly unethical advertisements.

The tobacco companies themselves are not the evil corporations that everyone tries to make them out to be. They are just like any other ordinary firm that is trying to compete and make a profit in the global economy. They employ thousands of people, add to the economic activity of our country, and have a number of positive effects on the nation. Some say that they use misleading and unethical advertising techniques. This assertion is wholly false. Just like any other product, the tobacco companies use exaggerated commercials and other devices to sell their goods. These companies arent even allowed to put advertisements on television, while those against the industry are free to utilize the airwaves.

Some say that these companies will do everything in their power to not pay compensation when a family member dies of tobacco related illnesses. Of course they are trying to do this! Like every other cooptation in America, these companies are trying to avoid expenditures, and why should they pay out compensation in the first place. Everyone knows the risks of smoking, its listed on the damn package for god sakes. If someone is irrational enough to smoke for thirty years even though there exist sizable evidence that this is dangerous, then let them pay the consequences. Do manufacturers of car companies pay the victims of crashes when the vehicle was performing under normal conditions? It seems politically correct to bash these companies, and this attitude is just plain wrong. They have done nothing unethical, and the attention should be drawn on the advocates of anti-smoking initiatives rather than these corporations.

I am a track star (yeah right) and have only smoked about two cigars in my entire life. Still, I hate seeing the propaganda and half-truths reigning supreme over the smoking debate. The groups against smoking are the ones that employ unethical tactics and lies to get their message across. The smoking companies are just doing what any other company does, and are being restricted from utilizing the full benefits of the capitalist system. So next time you see one of those truth advertisements on television or badmouth the tobacco corporations, just think about the whole debate differently. The anti-tobacco people are the ones using smoke and mirrors to convince gullible people of the apparent evils of the tobacco corporations.